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Date: May 31, 2010
Author: Marco Chiappetta
Introduction and Specifications

It has been about two months since NVIDIA officially unveiled their first pair of DirectX 11 graphics cards based on the highly anticipated Fermi architecture, the flagship GeForce GTX 480 and the GeForce GTX 470. As is typically the case, when NVIDIA--or ATI for that matter-- releases a new high-end GPU, lower-end, more affordable derivatives are eventually introduced to maximize yield of the chips. Today's launch of the new GeForce GTX 465 is just such a move. The GeForce GTX 465 features the same GF100 GPU as its higher-end cousins, the GTX 480 and GTX 470, but a few of its functional units have been disabled. The result is a somewhat less powerful, but also less expensive, Fermi-based graphics card. Take a look at the GeForce GTX 465's specifications alongside the GeForce GTX 470 and 480 below, and then read on for the full scoop...

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465
Specifications and Features

As the specifications show, the GeForce GTX 465 is essentially a pared down GeForce GTX 470. And to see the cards side-by-side, they look nearly identical. The GeForce GTX 465, however, features fewer active Graphics Processing Clusters, fewer Streaming Multiprocessors, and hence CUDA cores. The GeForce GTX 465 also sports a narrower 256-bit memory interface, a smaller 1GB frame buffer, and fewer Texture and ROP units. The GeForce GTX 465's GPU clocks are right in-line with the 470, but it's memory clock is slightly decreased.

Ultimately ,the GeForce GTX 465 has less compute power, a lower fillrate, and less memory bandwidth than the more powerful members of the GeForce GTX 400 series, but it also requires less power and costs less. Cards from EVGA and Zotac coming up next.

EVGA and ZOTAC GTX 465 Cards

Over the last few days, we've have the opportunity to evaluate a couple of GeForce GTX 465 cards from EVGA and Zotac. Both of which are pictured below...


Zotac GeForce GTX 465

The Zotac GeForce GTX 465, save for its custom decals, is essentially a reference GeForce GTX 465. Its GPU, shader, and memory clocks are 607MHz, 1215MHz, and 802MHz (3208MHz data rate), respectively. The card features a 1GB GDDR5 frame buffer and requires two 6-pin PCI Express power connections (max TDP is 200W). The outputs on the GeForce GTX 465 are identical to the 470 and 480 (dual, dual-link DVIs and a mini HDMI) and it is a dual-slot design that looks identical to the GeForce GTX 470.

Zotac includes all of the usual suspects with their card like a user's manual and installation guide, a drivers CD, a case badge, a pair of dual-Molex to 6-pin power adapters, and a VGA to DVI adapter, along with an HDMI to mini-HDMI adapter.


EVGA GeForce GTX 465 Super-Clocked

EVGA's GeForce GTX 465 SuperClocked Edition looks just like Zotac's offering, except for its decals, of course. But under the hood, it's a little bit different in that its GPU core, shaders and memory are clocked somewhat higher. The EVGA GeForce GTX 465 SuperClocked has a 625MHz GPU clock, with 1250MHz shaders, and 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 810MHz (3240MHz data rate). With its higher clocks, the EVGA GeForce GTX 465 SuperClocked Edition will obviously perform somewhat better than pure reference cards, but it will also cost a bit more too.

As for the GeForce GTX 465 SuperClocked Edition's bundle, EVGA includes a user's manual, case badge, and drive CD, in addition to a pair of dual-Molex to 6-pin power adapters, a VGA to DVI adapter, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.

Test System and Unigine Heaven

How We Configured Our Test Systems:  We tested the graphics cards in this article on a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 motherboard powered by a Core i7 965 quad-core processor and 6GB of OCZ DDR3-1333 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "high performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS and installed the latest hotfixes, along with the necessary drivers and applications.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Core i7 965 (3.2GHz)

Gigabyte EX58-UD5
(X58 Express)

Radeon HD 5850
Radeon HD 5870
Radeon HD 5970
GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 465 (EVGA, Zotac)
GeForce GTX 470

GeForce GTX 480

6GB OCZ DDR3-1333
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX Feb. 2010 Redist
ATI Catalyst v10.3a
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v257.15

Benchmarks Used:

Unigine Heaven v2.0
3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
FarCry 2
Left 4 Dead 2*
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.5*

* - Custom benchmark

Unigine Heaven v2.0 Benchmark
Synthetic DirectX 11 Gaming

Unigine Heaven

The Unigine Heaven Benchmark v2.0 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion), and it also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering. Due to the fact that we tested Heaven in DX11 mode, no NVIDIA GT200 series cards are represented in the graph below.


The new GeForce GTX 465 cards from EVGA and Zotac performed well in the Unigine Heaven DX11 benchmark. Thanks to its higher clocks, the EVGA card finished slighted ahead of Zotac's offering, but both cards pull ahead of the Radeon HD 5800 series cards. The GeForce GTX 470 and 480 fnished ahead of the 465, though--as expected.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DirectX Gaming

3DMark Vantage

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista-based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10, which y isn't available on previous versions of Windows.  3DMark Vantage isn't simply a port of 3DMark06 to DirectX 10 though.  With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, in addition to support for the latest PC hardware.  We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark Vantage's Extreme preset option, which uses a resolution of 1920x1200 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.


The EVGA and Zotac GeForce GTX 465 cards put up some decent numbers in 3DMark Vantage, but were easily outpaced by the Radeon HD 5850. Although they did finish out in front of the Radeon HD 5830, the deltas separating the cards was quite small, especially for the reference-clocked Zotac card.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
OpenGL Gaming Performance

Enemy Territory:
Quake Wars

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is Based on a radically enhanced version of id's Doom 3 engine and viewed by many as Battlefield 2 meets the Strogg, and then some.  In fact, we'd venture to say that id took EA's team-based warfare genre up a notch or two.  ET: Quake Wars also marks the introduction of John Carmack's "Megatexture" technology that employs large environment and terrain textures that cover vast areas of maps without the need to repeat and tile many smaller textures.  The beauty of megatexture technology is that each unit only takes up a maximum of 8MB of frame buffer memory.  Add to that HDR-like bloom lighting and leading edge shadowing effects and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars looks great, plays well and works high end graphics cards vigorously.  The game was tested with all of its in-game options set to their maximum values with soft particles enabled in addition to 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering

The new GeForce GTX 465 cards performed somewhere in between the Radeon HD 5830 and 5850 in our custom ET:QW test, but well behind the GeForce GTX 470 and 480. Note, however, that even at a resolution of 2560x1600, the GeForce GTX 465s produced perfectly playable framerates.

Crysis v1.21

Crysis v1.21
DirectX 10 Gaming Performance


If you're at all into enthusiast computing, the highly anticipated single player, FPS smash-hit Crysis, should require no introduction. Crytek's game engine produces some stunning visuals that are easily the most impressive real-time 3D renderings we've seen on the PC to date.  The engine employs some of the latest techniques in 3D rendering like Parallax Occlusion Mapping, Subsurface Scattering, Motion Blur and Depth-of-Field effects, as well as some of the most impressive use of Shader technology we've seen yet.  In short, for those of you that want to skip the technical jib-jab, Crysis is a beast of a game.  We ran the full game patched to v1.21 with all of its visual options set to 'Very High' to put a significant load on the graphics cards being tested  A custom demo recorded on the Ice level was used throughout testing.

According to our custom Crysis benchmark, the GeForce GTX 465 performs right about on par with the Radeon HD 5830. The GeForces were every so slightly faster at 1920x1200, but the 5830 finished right in between the two 465s at the higher resolution.

FarCry 2

FarCry 2
DirectX Gaming Performance

FarCry 2

Like the original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date.  Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft, FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations.  We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article with a fully patched version of FarCry 2, using one of the built-in demo runs recorded in the "Ranch" map.  The test results shown here were run at various resolutions with 4X AA enabled.


FarCry 2 proved to be somewhat of a strong point for the GeForce GTX 465s. Here, both the higher-clocked EVGA card and reference clocked Zotac GeForce GTX 465 finish well ahead of even the Radeon HD 5850 at 1920x1200 and perform right on par with the 5850 at 2560x1600.

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2
DirectX Gaming Performance

Left 4 Dead 2

Like its predecessor, Left 4 Dead 2 is a co-operative, survival horror, first-person shooter that pits four players against numerous hordes of Zombies. Like Half Life 2, the game uses the Source engine, however, the visual in L4D 2 are far superior to anything seen in the Half Life universe to date. The game has much more realistic water and lighting effects, more expansive maps with richer detail, more complex models, and the list goes on and on. We tested the game at various resolutions with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering enabled and all in game graphical options set to their maximum values.

In our custom Left 4 Dead 2 benchmark, the GeForce GTX 465 cards performed about 10% better than the Radeon HD 5830. The Radeon HD 5850, however, was about 14% faster than the new GeForces here.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
DirectX Gaming Performance

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. is an aerial warfare video game that takes place during the time of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.  Players have the opportunity to take the throttle of over 50 famous aircrafts in both solo and 4-player co-op missions, and take them over real world locations and cities in photo-realistic environments created with the best commercial satellite data provided by GeoEye.  We used the built-in performance test at two resolutions with all quality settings set to their highest values, using the DX10 code path for the GeForce GT 200 series cards, and DX10.1 path for the Radeons and GeForce GTX 400 series.


The new GeForce GTX 465 cards from EVGA and Zotac crushed the Radeon HD 5830 in the H.A.W.X. benchmark, but finished well behind the Radeon HD 5850.
Total System Power Consumption

Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet


The GeForce GTX 465 cards consumed about the same amount of power as the much faster Radeon HD 5870 while under load, but about 20 more watts at idle (sitting at the Windows desktop). In comparison to the GeForce GTX 480, however, the 465s used much less power under load. As you may expect, due to their lower power cosumption, the GeForce GTX 465 doesn't generate quite as much heat and it runs much quiter than the 480 too. In fact, throughout our entire suite of benchmarks, we never heard the fan on the GTX 465s spin up to the point where they were louder than the stock Intel CPU cooler in our test rig.

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: A clear pattern emerged throughout most of our benchmark testing. In every test, except for the Unigine Heaven DX11 benchmark and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., the new GeForce GTX 465 performed somewhere in between the Radeon HD 5830 and Radeon HD 5850. In the Heaven benchmark, which makes heavy use of DX11's Tessellation feature, the GeForce GTX 465s beat every single-GPU powered Radeon. And in the H.A.W.X. DX10.1 benchmark, the GeForce GTX 465s managed to outpace the Radeon HD 5850.

GeForce GTX 465 cards from a number of NVIDIA's board partners will be available for purchase immediately. In fact, a few hours before publishing this article, a slew of GTX 465s from seven different board partners went up for sale at NewEgg, all with asking prices of $279. As an added kicker though, most of the cards include a copy of the recently released Just Cause 2, which is a nice touch. Please note, however, that all of the cards at that $279 price point are clocked to NVIDIA's reference specifications, like the Zotac card featured here. The EVGA GeForce GTX 465 SuperClocked Edition has not been listed yet. Due to its somewhat higher clocks, expect its street price to be a few dollars higher than its lower-clocked counterparts.

NVIDIA's Reference GeForce GTX 465

Although NVIDIA hasn't been able to deal a knockout blow to any of ATI's DX11-class cards at any given price point, the GeForce GTX 465 is interesting nonetheless. For under $300, the GeForce GTX 465 performs well and offers support for DX11 and all of NVIDIA's proprietary technologies like PhysX, 3D Vision, and CUDA. The GTX 465 also proved to be relatively quiet throughout testing, although it did consume a considerable amount of power relative to its ATI-driven counterparts. In the end though, the GeForce GTX 465's price relative to its performance fall right where it should in the current market and it offers competitive performance and features.



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